STARC Productions
Bakehouse Theatre
Until 02 Feb 2019

Review by Janice Bailey

“Last of the Red Hot Lovers” is possibly one of the most amusing of Neil Simon’s comedies. It focuses on Barney Cashman, a forty-seven-year-old owner of a seafood restaurant who is afraid that the sexual revolution of the 1960s is passing him by. Over the space of nine months, he invites three different women to his mother’s Manhattan apartment in the hope of having an afternoon of extramarital sex. None of the affairs is consummated, however, and Barney decides after the last one that he would prefer a romantic afternoon with his wife, Thelma. The play also serves to highlight the plight of those who, unable to deal with mid-life crisis, or change their standards of morality, must simply live out their decent, uneventful lives without realizing their romantic dreams.

Directed by Tony Knight and performed by Marc Clement and Stefanie Rossi – who are the founders of Starc Productions – this current production at the Bakehouse Theatre is a delight. Marc Clements brings Barney to life with a good balance between awkward bravado and conservatism. It is Barney’s ineptness which allows the audience to feel sympathetic towards him. Usually the three female characters are played by three women. However, Stefanie Rossi has taken on the formidable task of playing the three very different characters. Her characterisations and comedic timing, bringing three very different women to life, are immaculate. Her performance is awesome.

Starc Productions’ artistic mission is to provide quality entertainment at affordable prices. This production has achieved this in spades.